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Upcoming forum set to finalize global plan for sustainable development, UN official says

Upcoming forum set to finalize global plan for sustainable development, UN official says

Nitin Desai
A major United Nations forum is set to finalize a new global implementation plan to accelerate sustainable development, and to launch a series of innovative partnerships to promote sustainability, a senior UN official said today in New York.

Speaking in what he called "the last stretch" before the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and the Secretary-General of the Summit, told reporters at a press briefing that he was confident agreement would be reached on an action plan.

The strategy is expected to be adopted at the conclusion of the forum, which will be held from 26 August to 4 September in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Introducing the Summit's report today, entitled "Global Challenge Global Opportunity," Mr. Desai said the international community must take action. "If we do nothing to change our current indiscriminate patterns of development, we will compromise the long-team security of the Earth and its people," he said.

The report examines a number of issues that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has identified as central to the negotiations at the Summit, including water and sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity, biodiversity, and human health, Mr. Desai explained.

In many areas, there were excellent examples of small-scale initiatives, but those good examples had not been "taken to scale," he noted, adding that urgent action to do that was now needed.

In announcing that more than 100 world leaders would attend the Summit, Mr. Desai said that the great challenge of Johannesburg was to determine how to engage governments and mobilize the non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities and, in certain cases, the private sector.

Governments should emerge from Johannesburg committed to take an integrated view of sustainable development, recognize the urgency of the problems and devise practical ways of taking NGO-led innovations from the community levels to scale, he stressed.



- Press Conference by Nitin Desai